On Friday California state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed AB44 into law, which bans sales of new clothing and accessories (handbags, shoes, pompoms, key chains, you know) made of fur.
For the purpose of the law, fur is defined as “animal skin or part thereof with hair, fleece or fur fibers attached thereto.” For the purposes of shoppers, that means mink, sable, chinchilla, lynx, fox, rabbit, beaver, coyote and other luxury furs.
California is the first state to ban fur, but it is following the lead of a number of its own municipalities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Berkeley. A variety of countries have banned fur farming, including Serbia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic. And similar bills banning fur sales have been introduced in New York City and Hawaii, though they have yet to become law.
Over the last year numerous brands have jumped on the no-fur bandwagon, including Stella McCartney, Gucci, Versace, Coach, Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani and Tom Ford. H&M, which is not exactly a haven of mink coats, has said it will no longer use mohair. One of the few holdouts is Fendi, which began life as a fur house, still has five outlets in California that sell fur and even has “haute fourrure” fashion shows once a year during couture. (Fendi did not respond to requests for comment on the ban.)
Still, all of this just-say-no-to-fur is not quite the sacrifice it sounds, since for many brands fur makes up a very small percentage of sales (at Coach, for example, fur accounted for less than 1 percent of its business). In California, it was an especially tiny percentage.
Exceptions have been made for cowhide, deerskin, sheepskin and goatskin. Which means that shearling is totally fine. Exceptions have also been made for religious observances (shtreimels, the fur hats often worn by Hasidic Jews, can continue to be sold) and other traditional or cultural purposes.